Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature - The Birthplace of Country Music
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Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature

February 1, 2019 @ 10:00 am - June 30, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

Vintage colorized photograph of four children

Reading Appalachia: Voices From Children’s Literature, a new special exhibit now on display at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum!

Dates: February 1, 2019—June 30, 2019

Walk through the pages of your favorite storybook in Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature, a groundbreaking exhibit on Appalachian children’s books and stories. Sporting life-size characters from Appalachian children’s books, this exhibit looks at the seminal titles from the late 1800s through the modern story of Appalachia – you’ll feel like you’re walking through the pages of a storybook. Children can stand eye-to-eye with characters from Journey Cake HoA Mountain RoseWhen Otter Tricked the RabbitWhen I Was Young, and others.

The exhibit also includes a variety of hands-on activities that bring the subject to life for kids of all ages. Children are encouraged to try on masks of storybook characters and find themselves in a story. They can create their own story of childhood set in Appalachia and hear the voice of old-time storyteller Ray Hicks along with some of their favorite authors and illustrators. Each panel includes an interpretation of the text from a child’s perspective. A story corner, with several of the featured books, is a great place to sit back, read and enjoy the magic of Appalachian literature!

All are invited to walk into the pages of a story of childhood in Appalachia!

Reading Appalachia was organized by the East Tennessee Historical Society and the Knox County Public Library; it is made possible through the generous support of Clayton Homes, the Jane L. Pettway Foundation, Friends of the Knox County Public Library, and the University of Tennessee’s Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature.

We would like to extend a special thanks to the Massengill-DeFriece Foundation for their support of this exhibit and its programming.

The exhibit will be on display in the museum’s Special Exhibits Gallery from February 1 to June 30, 2019. It is complemented by a variety of engaging public programs (see below) and can serve as a wonderful educational resource for school groups and educators.

Share your story!

During the Reading Appalachia exhibit, we want to share the visual story of your Appalachian childhood in our Community Case in the museum’s exhibits. If you are interested, please send a digital photograph via the link below, along with a short description for the caption.

Click on the following link to learn more.

Submit Your Story Here


Reading Appalachia programming

Story Time in the Gallery – Thursdays at 10:30am starting on March 7

Join us in the museum’s Special Exhibits Gallery every Thursday at 10:30am for Story Time, where we will read books from the Reading Appalachia exhibit, along with enjoying related storybooks and a fun coloring page. This event is free and open to the public; the books are most appropriate for ages 5 and under.

Radio Bristol Book Club – Every fourth Thursday of the month, starting March 28

Inspired by the museum’s current special exhibit – Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature – readers from BCM and the Bristol Public Library come together each month to celebrate and explore one book featured in the exhibit. We invite you to read along and then listen in on the 4th Thursday of each month at 11—11:30am when we will dig deep into the feelings and questions raised by the books, learn more about the authors, and celebrate the joys of being a bookworm! Books to be featured are: Sounder by William H. Armstrong (March 28), Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (April 25), book tbd (May 23), and book tbd (June 27).

Literarily Cool! – Saturday, March 9, 10:30—11:45am

Join educator Christine Mitten at the museum on Saturday, March 9 at 10:30am for a fun and active literacy program! Children (ages 2 ½ to 6) and their grownups will experience the magic of Appalachian children’s literature. Through fun, hands-on activities, stories will be brought to life for the children and wonderful family memories will be made. This event is free but donations are very much appreciated – your donation supports free and low-cost programming at the museum. Space is limited so we ask that you reserve your spot here.

Elizabeth LaPrelle workshop – Saturday, March 30, 2:00—4:00pm

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will host a free workshop with musician and singer Elizabeth LaPrelle on Saturday, March 30, 2:00 p.m. Elizabeth will teach a variety of traditional Appalachian songs as repertoire, using them as a springboard to talk about the voice and how to use it in solo performance. Participants will also get the chance to explore the “mountain” sound through listening to a few examples and practicing a few exercises together. Everyone who wants to will get a chance to sing solo! This workshop is free, but space is limited so we ask that you reserve your spot.

Elizabeth LaPrelle in concert – Saturday, March 30, 7:00pm

Join us at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Saturday, March 30, 7:00pm for a concert by Elizabeth LaPrelle. Elizabeth is exceptional in her devotion to and mastery of the ancient and deep art of Appalachian singing, and her voice, stark and unaccompanied, can lift and carry the listener away to another time. A concert including a variety of haunting and evocative Appalachian ballads and old-time songs, this is a performance not to be missed. Tickets are $15.

Wordloose: a teen poetry experience – Wednesday, April 17, 6:30—8pm

Calling all teen poets! Do you like writing stories, poems, or just playing with words? Join Carolyn Koesters at the museum for a fun, creative workshop, where there’s no right or wrong answers. Just read a poem, write a poem, and even share with the group if you want to. Our theme will be “Home.” Teen writers of all levels are welcome. This program is free but donations are welcome; your donation supports free and low-cost programming at the museum.

Family Fun Day – Saturday, May 4, 12—2pm

Join the Birthplace of Country Music and the Bristol Public Library at the museum for a free Family Fun Day! On offer will be an Instrument Petting Zoo, giving kids a chance to learn about and play a variety of stringed instruments; a story-related activity;  and free entry to the special exhibit, Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature. This is a great day to be downtown because not only can you have a great time at our Free Family Fun Day, but you can also enjoy Free Comic Book Day and related activities at Mountain Empire Comics on nearby 6th Street.

Wordcatching: Adult journal-making workshop – Thursday, June 6, 6:30—8:30pm

Join Carolyn Koesters at the museum for this fun introductory workshop to create and decorate a simple journal, and then learn how to journal for yourself! Writing in a journal is easy and fun, and it’s a great method for organizing, goal-setting, and saving your memories for future generations. All levels welcome – no experience or art background necessary, just the desire to have fun! Cost is $20 per person, including all supplies and light refreshments (wine, soft drinks, water, cookies).


February 1, 2019 @ 10:00 am
June 30, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
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